The Millionaire's Unexpected Proposal

By: Jane Peden



“So tell them he’s not their grandson.”

She turned her head, looked out the window. “I can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“I just can’t.”

She looked down, realized she was clenching her hands in her lap, and forced herself to relax.

“JD loved his father,” she said, finally. “I can’t take that away from him.”

“JD never met his father before today,” Sam said coldly, and she felt a hot prickling of anger stab through her.

“It takes more than some sperm in a hotel room in Vegas to make a father.”

“Well, I guess I wouldn’t know that, would I? Since I didn’t know you were pregnant. And now, five years later, you show up and expect me to bail you out of whatever trouble you’ve gotten yourself into, and marry you? But not acknowledge JD as my son.”

It sounded ridiculous even to her own ears. How could she make him understand?

“It’s the only thing I could think of. If I can show that I have a stable home for my son, and a husband with influence and money, my in-laws won’t be able to do anything. A year, that’s all I’m asking from you. Then we get a quiet divorce. I’ll sign whatever papers you want giving up any rights to your money.”

“Damn right you will.”

“I just can’t risk losing JD.” She felt tears pricking behind her eyes and she fought them back. She hadn’t come looking for pity. She’d beg if she had to, but she wouldn’t break down.

“Why exactly do your in-laws think you’re too irresponsible to raise your own son?”

“It’s complicated.”

“I’m sure it is.” His jaw hardened. He looked like he’d come to some sort of decision, and she held her breath.

“I’m going to give this some thought tonight, Camilla. Don’t you even think about changing your mind and leaving town with that child, because I will hunt you down. Is that understood?”

“Yes.”

“Come to my office tomorrow at ten o’clock. I haven’t decided exactly how to handle this yet, but I’m going to tell you one thing for certain. I am going to be part of my son’s life.”

He pulled back on to the highway, headed back toward her hotel.

“That’s fine. After the divorce you can have visitation. I wouldn’t try to stop you from seeing him.”

He glanced over. “That’s rich, coming from you.”

“Are you trying to tell me you would have been thrilled to hear some girl you hooked up with in Vegas was pregnant? You didn’t even know my last name.”

“Well, I guess we’ll never know, will we? I may not have been ready for a relationship then. But I would never have walked away from my responsibility for a child. All you needed to do was pick up the phone.”

But she had. Once, in a moment of desperation, she’d called his office, spoken to his assistant, been promised that Sam would return her call. He never did. And again, six months later, she’d tried again. She never heard from him. Apparently she had meant so little to him that he didn’t even remember now.

She’d made plenty of mistakes, but she wasn’t going to take full responsibility for this one.

“I did try to contact you. You were too busy to take my call.”

For a moment, his face registered surprise, then his features hardened.

“I’m busy a lot, but I do return phone calls. If you really wanted to reach me, I’m sure you could have managed it over the past five years.”

“I know how it looks. You don’t know how much I’ve regretted—”

“This isn’t about you. It’s about an innocent child. My child.”

“Our child,” she said quietly.

“That’s the unfortunate part of this situation I’ll have to deal with.”

He pulled into the hotel parking lot and stopped the car abruptly, leaning back in his seat to look at her. His voice was cold and deliberate, but his eyes were dark with anger.

“You’ve made all the decisions for the past five years. I’m making the decisions now.”

As long as his decision was to protect JD from a custody challenge, that was fine with Camilla. But what would it be like to be married to this man, who seemed more like a stranger than someone she’d once shared days and nights of passion with? The car suddenly felt too small, and she felt too aware of him in the confined space.

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